This summer we have the lovely Domiziana joining us as an intern here at Bookings For You HQ. So, we thought it was only fair to find out a bit more about her as part of our ‘Interview with…’ series.
Tell us about your region.
I come from Le Marche, a small but very typical region in the central part of Italy on the Adriatic coast. My hometown is Acqualagna, in the north province of the region (Pesaro-Urbino), and it is known especially for truffles, a precious gift from the earth that can be easily found in our woods, and truffle hunting. Apart from truffles and other gastronomic products like crescia sfogliata, very similar to piadina, and cappelletti, a special type of tortellini that we usually eat with broth, what I love about my home is its quietness and peacefulness as well as its incredible landscapes. Le Marche is a mountainous and hilly region and I love being surrounded by nature, woods and cultivated fields, where you can go walking or cycling or simply have a picnic under the trees. However, the seaside is just 30 minutes away from my home, so what I love as well is the possibility of leaving the mountains and having a relaxing day on the beach whenever I want!
What do you love about travelling?
I am very lucky because I have been travelling with my family since I was a child (discovering new places is a family thing!), therefore I had the opportunity to visit many countries, both in Europe where I have been in Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Great Britain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Greece and Croatia, and North Africa where I have visited Tunisia and Egypt. I have also been in Formentera, one of the Canary Islands, and Cabo Verde and two years ago I crossed the ocean for the first time and went to New York. It is easy to understand that travelling is my passion: I have always been curious about seeing new places and I am really interested in history and art, I could spend hours walking through a city and visiting palaces, museums and places where important historical events occurred. But what I truly love about travelling is the opportunity to have an insight into a new culture, which means a different way of looking at and living life.
Where has been your favourite place?
It is not easy to choose just one place amongst the ones I have visited… simply because each of them has left me something! In Seville and Granada I could experience the typical Spanish lifestyle, in New York it was like being in a movie, London and Amsterdam are so cool and trendy, while the Sahara Desert in Tunisia is a place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. However, there are two places that truly surprised me and I still remember them vividly: the Mezquita in Córdoba, probably one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen with the fusion of thousands of columns of the mosque and the baroque cathedral in the centre, and the Urquhart Castel in Scotland, whose location on the shores of Loch Ness left me breathless.
And where’s your favourite place in Italy?
Again, it is not easy to choose just one place. Italy is so unique and diverse and wherever you go you can find breath taking landscapes, ancient traditions and imposing palaces that throw you back in time! I have been in Rome, Florence, Naples, Turin, Verona… and each of them is a true experience for visitors. But Italy is also the thousands medieval hilltop villages that tourists can find all over the country and where the authentic Italian lifestyle and local traditions are still strong. But again, if I have to make a choice, there are two Italian towns that have a special place in my heart: Matera, in the Basilicata region, with its strong rural tradition, the famous sassi and its narrow, cobbled street that became the ancient Jerusalem in the movie “The Passion of the Christ”, and Venice, the queen of the Adriatic, a daydream for its visitors and the city where I have been studying for two years… and getting lost in its maze!
What’s your best travel tip?
Information, information and again information! The best tip I can give to travellers is collecting as much information as they can before leaving for a new country as well as for a new city or region. This may take you some time before the departure, but it is truly worth it, because you will learn how to behave in the new place, how you can get around without wasting hours at the local information office and you won’t miss anything worth a visit… and trust me, there is nothing more frustrating than knowing that that beautiful monument or interesting event was just a few kilometres away from where you were and you didn’t know!
What is your favourite photo from your travels?
I have two photos: one is from my holiday in Tunisia and it was taken just after a tour on dromedaries in the Sahara Desert, while the other is a photo where I point at the Statue of Liberty in New York during my bike tour over the Brooklyn Bridge. They are my favourites ones because they remind me of amazing experiences I had in two different but both incredible places, but I have hundreds of other photos I love as well because every journey was an adventure!
What do you miss most about Italy?
Well, the classical answer to this question for an Italian is: food and weather! All right, this may seem a stereotype and sometimes it is: it is not always sunny and hot in Italy and if you eat traditional dishes when you are abroad, most of the times you won’t be disappointed even if they are not Italian dishes. However, the culinary tradition as well as the nice weather in spring and summer are something that as an Italian you will always miss a little bit, together with some small routines that we have at home, like sitting for hours at a restaurant table after a big meal while chatting with your friends and relatives or going in a bar and asking for a coffee without worrying about the size or type of coffee because it can only be an espresso! But what I miss the most is probably all the “history” that surrounds you wherever you go in Italy.
What are the biggest differences you’ve found here in the UK?
That is not an easy answer as well. Probably I would say the physical contact, which is one of the main difference between northern cultures and Mediterranean cultures. In Italy we are used to physical contact, especially between friends, and we tend to kiss and hug as greetings when we meet, while British people tend to be very polite with words but a little more detached. Another thing is probably the conception of food: we are obsessed with it! We could talk for hours about foods and receipts, meals are a fundamental part in our everyday life and we think that everyone should take the right time to eat something of quality and enjoy the moment with the ones they love.
What is your favourite property on the Bookings For You website?
Probably Trulli Itaka in Puglia, it seems absolutely stunning! And what I love about this property is that it combines tradition and contemporary spaces: the rooms have been recently renovated in a modern style but in the traditional location of Puglia, trulli, which create the perfect setting for a holiday in this beautiful region and where guests will find some fresh air during the summer hot days. Moreover, the three trulli have been designed like three small apartments, perfect for a family holiday with relatives and friends, where everyone can have their own space and then gather together in the wide gardens and pool outside. Near Alberobello and Ostuni, I think this is the perfect place for discovering Puglia!
What’s your favourite travel quote?
My favourite quote about travelling is a quote from Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. It means that every place, even the ones we see every day, can surprise us if we keep our curiosity alive. That is essential for every traveller, only if we constantly look for what is beautiful, strange and unique we can experience every place deeply and make every place “home”. Of course, I have a quote about Italy as well, it is the one from Bertrand Russel who said: “Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy”.